By Malini Bhupta
Geography may be history in the new normal with ‘work from anywhere’ becoming par for the course, but the unintended outcome of this trend is an increase in anxiety levels and other mental health disorders. Realising the downside of working from home (WFH), several corporations have reached out to MPower, an organisation that offers institutions and corporates holistic mental health services, to address challenges faced by employees and team leaders in the new normal.
Mpower, which has rolled out helplines in three languages since April, has received more than 65,000 calls, and much of the distress could be traced to the isolation triggered by WFH.
Neerja Birla, founder and chairperson of Mpower told FE, “One of the biggest concerns about working from home is the isolation it leads to. There’s also the challenge of being able to work, especially in cases where families live together, in small spaces.”
Taking cognisance of this issue, more than 27 large corporations have sought out Mpower for help and counselling through various means. Thanks to the pandemic, Birla said, awareness about mental health issues has gone up, and many more corporations are reaching out to Mpower to conduct mental health literacy surveys to identify specific needs of employees.
Mpower offers a suite of services to corporations, ranging from individual counselling sessions offered onsite to sensitivity training for senior managers on mental health issues.
It has come up with an outreach programme for non-metros through its eClinics, which offer remedial therapies and counselling through the digital channel. ‘The Mpower eClinic’ has an experienced team of psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, remedial therapists and special educators to treat a variety of mental illnesses. The eClinic ensures that world-class and multifaceted mental health services that are available in metros are also made accessible in key cities of Maharashtra like Nashik, Aurangabad, Nagpur & Kolhapur.
Birla said that while the pandemic has helped improve overall awareness around mental health issues among corporations, much more needs to be done to remove the stigma associated with mental health. Mpower is using social media to have open conversations on the subject.